By Michael Baadke
Leaders of the American Philatelic Society intend to make an official statement about the workings of the International Federation of Philately (FIP).
At the March 2 meeting of the APS board of directors in Reno, Nev., APS president Mick Zais announced his plan to draft a letter addressed to FIP president Tay Peng Hian of Singapore, and to the FIP board of directors, in support of suggestions made recently by Chris King of the Association of British Philatelic Societies. King's letter recommended changes to certain FIP procedures.
King and Stephen Reinhard, the APS immediate past president, were candidates to represent Europe and the Americas, respectively, as FIP vice presidents in elections held last October. Neither was elected, and a Linn’s article by New York correspondent Matthew Healey published shortly after the election reported on criticism of the FIP election process and the ensuing backlash.
Other reports in recent years have expressed concerns about the results of judging at FIP events, and some hobby leaders have called for reform of the international body.
The FIP acts as an international forum for national stamp hobby federations, including the APS representing the United States, and determines standards for international judging. Among its stated aims is “to promote philatelic exhibitions by granting Patronage and Auspices.”
Zais plans to write a letter expressing APS support for the principles articulated in King’s statement to the FIP, which was distributed to the APS board members at the March meeting.
“There’s been a number of people who asked me that I do something on behalf of the APS, to sign a document,” Zais told the APS board.
Zais would use an existing document “put together by our International committee” as the basis for preparing his letter to the FIP, on behalf of the American Philatelic Society.
One document circulated to the board proposed that each of the three continental federations have a vice president’s seat on the FIP board, and that the FIP presidency rotate between the three continental federations. It also suggested changes to the selection of judges for international exhibitions, to the number of FIP board meetings with board members present, and other matters.
Zais expressed skepticism that his letter would change anything in the current FIP leadership.
“The goal would be to have some influence on future administrations,” he said.
“I think we’re trying to push to reform FIP,” Zais added, “and, at the same time, provide alternatives for international exhibiting.”
In his 2016 proposal to the FIP, King submitted a motion similar to one that was passed by the 74th FIP Congress when it convened in October. A draft of that motion provided to the APS board recommended a review to the FIP constitution and statutes, with changes to the election process, methods of developing and approving “a three year rolling priority programme of work,” communication efforts, exhibition sponsorship and more.
Peter P. McCann, who served two terms as an FIP vice president and is now on the APS board of directors, told the APS board that the motion passed despite the fact that Tay “vehemently opposed” it.
A new FIP president will be elected in 2018, McCann told the APS board. He said that he believes the next president will be elected from Europe.
Zais asked for the board’s permission to draft a letter that will go to the FIP president and board members, which he will share with the APS board before sending it out on behalf of the society. Zais said he will submit the letter to the board prior to the next APS board meeting, which is scheduled to convene by telephone on April 20.
The board voted in favor of the motion to have Zais draft a letter, with APS treasurer Bruce Marsden abstaining.